Friday, January 26, 2007


Tinariwen - from the deserts of Mali

Yesterday was so hot, it seemed like we had all gone to hell! It was impossible for any straight thinking; crazy to even try and move a muscle in the heat; and no matter how many times the office jumped in the pool, it just didn’t make it any cooler, or easier, to think.

I did find a very pleasant place to spend the previous evening – we took the boys to the Spur at West Coast Village (right), where they had an ingenious way of keeping the customers cool. With a water-pipe, and small spray nozzles, a heavy mist would be sprayed into the air above us every 15-minutes, making us all feel like we were fresh produce at Fruit & Veg City – who use a similar method of keeping the veggies looking fresh! And it really works at keeping the air cooler, and us sitting at the table longer.

Talking about hot stuff, we had a great meeting yesterday with Heidi da Sousa – Craig da Sousa’s wife and manager – who has now taken over the management of one of our firm favourites, the sexy sounding Iridium Project.

They have had a slight change in membership, seeing Mario Parmeggiani return to Italy (for love) and Craig taking his place for local, and soon, international gigs. The group is planning a tour of Europe later in the year, with another Cape musical powerhouse, Goldfish (pictured left), and we will be assisting them in finding more gigs across the continent at club’s, festivals & of course all those S.A. corporate’s that are missing home so much!

I am also very excited that Iridium Project is working on their 2nd album, expected around August 2007, which is pretty impressive; if you consider that it took almost 6-years to complete their first!

So, now, as it’s a wonderfully cool Friday, I thought I would feature something very funky, and well, cool!

Tinariwen (Tamashek for ‘empty places’), a group of traditional musicians from the deserts of Mali, have been making waves on the international performing circuit with their incredibly ‘hip’ style of music, called Tishoumaren – meaning literally ‘music of the unemployed’.

Tinariwen was started in 1982, in Moammar al-Qadhafi’s camps for Tuareg rebels; their music’s main theme being of their desire for independence from the government of Mali, after almost a century of clashes with governments and colonial masters, who wished to control them.

As camel riding nomads, the Tuareg differ notably from most other Moslem cultures, in that it is the men who cover their faces with a veil, or Tagelmust – an indigo blue dyed strip of cotton that can be up to 10 meters long forming both veil & turban - when they reach maturity. Their society is also matrilineal – meaning that they draw decent from their mother’s line, as opposed to a patriarchal society.

Tinariwen released many cassettes in their first 18-years, but released their first CD outside of Africa in December 2000. Since then they have appeared at a number of World Music festivals around the world, having been one of the highlights of the 2004 WOMAD Festival in Reading, U.K. (where Amampondo also appeared), and I am really looking forward to their 2007 album ‘Aman Iman’ – already being touted by BBC Radio 3’s Andy Kershaw as 2007’s album of the year (and that was in 2006!).

So enjoy this little video – Tinariwen is the only Tuareg musical group to make use of the electrical guitar – and remember that this is just another slice of the wonderful African music cake!
Tinariwen - Amassakoul 'n' Tenere & Chet Boghassa

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Hey there,

Tinariwen are great. I bought the album for my girlfriend for christmas and I think I have ended up listening to it more than her. Long live the Malian desert rockers.

On another note, I run a South African music blog, was hopping you would pop by and have a look. Also could you put up a link for me, i'll put one up on my site for you.

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